Why corporate wellness programs matter now more than ever

An outstanding corporate wellness program is no longer a “nice-to-have”—it’s a necessity

Published Date: Oct 13, 2023

Now more than ever, attracting and keeping top talent, maintaining an engaged workforce, and maximizing productivity hinges on how well your employees feel cared for. Thoughtful, relevant, and robust corporate wellness programs can play a significant part in this.

COVID-19 shook up employees’ thoughts about work, how it should fit into their lives, and how they expect to be supported by their employers. Workers are prioritizing health, happiness, and balance perhaps more now than ever, and with business implications that can’t be ignored. 

No doubt you’ve already felt them in your own organization. Research conducted by Gallup puts them in even greater perspective:

  • Three times as many people left their job in 2022 due to issues related to wellbeing, work-life balance, engagement, or culture, compared to those who quit over compensation.

  • When employees were asked to rank how important certain factors are in whether they change jobs, better personal wellbeing was at the top of the list.

On the flip side, employees are 32% less likely to entertain or actively seek out a new job if they are thriving.

People who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing also have better productivity, improved engagement, and fewer safety incidents than those who don’t. Their employers see greater profitability and less turnover, too.

Unfortunately, only 25% of U.S. workers said they ‘strongly agree’ that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing, according to the survey.

Corporate wellness programs aren’t about “checking the box.” They’re about providing employees with robust, relevant, and accessible offerings that give them what they personally need to be their best so they can do their best. It’s only then that a company can reap real rewards of program implementation.

This article discusses what corporate wellness programs are, the benefits they bring to your business, how to design a corporate wellness program, and tips for success.

What are corporate wellness programs?

Simply put, corporate wellness programs are the efforts organizations can use to enhance the health and wellness of their employees.

This includes physical, mental, social, and financial wellbeing, as well as satisfaction with one’s career and environment. 

A corporate wellness program may include components such as:

  • Fitness initiatives, like free or reduced gym memberships

  • Stress management, like yoga or deep-breathing classes

  • Nutrition guidance, for weight loss diabetes management, or overall health

  • Injury prevention, like stretching exercises and work equipment training

  • Financial wellness support, like 401(k) webinars and access to financial planners

  • Quit-smoking resources

  • Mental health support, like screenings for depression

  • Wellness challenges, like walking competitions

The most successful corporate wellness programs are tailored to a workforce’s unique wants and needs. Some may be company-wide, while others may be specific to certain subgroups within an organization.

Business benefits of corporate wellness programs

Corporate wellness programs can help your organization in many ways, from lowering your healthcare costs to boosting morale and more.

Reduced healthcare costs

As much as 70% percent of healthcare spending can be attributed to behavioral and lifestyle choices, which is why focusing on wellness is key. Harvard researchers found that every dollar spent on corporate wellness programs saves companies $3.27 in healthcare costs.

Decreased absenteeism

Healthier, more engaged employees are less likely to miss work. A review of 56 studies of such programs found that, when well-implemented, they can save companies from a 25% loss in productivity that they would otherwise incur due to wellness-related absenteeism.

Improved employee retention

A survey from the American Psychological Association found that in organizations with corporate wellness programs, only 25% of employees were planning to leave their job in the next year, as opposed to 51% of employees who didn't have such a program.

Greater productivity (and profits)

When workers feel appreciated and cared for, they are more likely to be productive. Companies with highly engaged employees have 21% higher profitability, according to a 2020 Gallup poll

Designing (or re-inventing) your corporate wellness program

In order to reap the full benefits of a corporate wellness program, it’s important to take time to design and execute it well.

If your organization doesn’t have a corporate wellness program, or if you’d like to tweak what you are already offering, the following can help guide you: 

  1. Review your medical claims: Start by looking at the most common medical claims your company pays. This can help you determine the most useful types of wellness programs for your team. For example, if your musculoskeletal care costs are high, your employees could likely benefit from a pain management program like Hinge Health.

  2. Consider your company demographics: You may have employees of vastly different ages and at different stages of life. Think about the unique needs, wants, and priorities of a young worker, a parent, or someone approaching retirement, for example. A corporate wellness program may only target a group of employees—and, in some cases, that may be as or even more useful than something more general.

  3. Think about what you want to define your organization: Choose wellness programs that align with your company’s mission, values, and vision. What you invest in says a lot about who you are and what you’re about—both to employees you already have and those you’re looking to bring aboard.

  4. Survey employees: To find out what kind of benefits your employees want, ask them. If you currently offer wellness programs that they aren’t utilizing, you can ask about new options that could replace those, too. (Anonymous surveys are typically your best bet.

  5. Offer ways to personalize: Each employee is a unique person with their own health needs. Offer some flexible benefits that they can tailor to their own interests, such as a wellness stipend they can use on classes or wellness outings of their choosing.

  6. Partner with proven solutions: There are many high-quality wellness solutions that can help supplement your offerings. There are also many unsubstantiated ones, too. To vet a partner, look for independently validated data on the service’s efficacy, as well as data that reflects your workforce.

  7. Seek solutions that tackle multiple wellness components: Health is complex, and most issues don’t develop in a silo. Look for healthcare solutions that can offer more than one service for greater results. For example, Hinge Health offers both physical therapy and health coaching, which can address lifestyle challenges.

  8. Prioritize accessibility: Wellness programs are great, but not if they aren’t convenient to use. Offer options that are easy to integrate, can be accessed from anywhere and at a wide variety of convenient times, and that can be utilized on day one. 

Tips for a successful corporate wellness program

Sometimes companies set up a corporate wellness program with good intentions, but it isn’t utilized enough by employees to make it worthwhile.

To help avoid that:

  1. Advertise programs throughout the year. Don’t just reach out to workers during orientation or open enrollment. Touch base at other times, too, such as seasonally or after a major life event (like the birth of a baby).

  2. Try different communication strategies. Listing corporate wellness programs in an employee manual or on your intranet is useful, but those mentions can easily get overlooked or forgotten about. Work in some additional modes of communications, such as SMS notifications and internal instant messaging.

  3. Consider incentives. This might include a bonus, gift cards, an item like a fitness tracker, etc.

  4. Walk the talk. Encourage management to publicly champion the programs you launch by not only discussing them, but showing employees that they are engaging in them, too.

How Hinge Health can help you

Joint or muscle pain touches virtually every area of your business. Sufferers are less productive and more likely to be absent or prone to presenteeism. And with rates of new chronic pain cases soaring, already-high related healthcare costs will only continue to grow.

Hinge Health is a clinically complete MSK care approach that keeps members engaged. For everything from minor sprains to chronic pain, our care team uses advanced technology to manage member pain and remove barriers to recovery.

Studies demonstrate that our powerful, clinically validated digital MSK solution yields positive long-term outcomes and claims reductions.

There are many health issues you can’t have much of an impact on.

This isn’t one of them.

Let’s talk about how we can get to work for you.

The pain crisis affecting your workforce

Additional resources